Here's why identity software firm Okta plans to open a retail location in New York City


Technology firm Okta recently signed lease for retail space in New York City, a move that may seem unusual for a company that makes identity management software.

However, in an interview Wednesday with CNBC’s Jim Cramer, Okta co-founder and CEO Todd McKinnon said it will enable the company to showcase the benefits of its software in a hands-on way.

“One of the challenges with identity technology and talking about this vision is sometimes it’s hard to imagine,” McKinnon said on “Mad Money.” “I talk about things like integrating the technology and connecting and having this central policy engine, but if you’re running a company, you know you have to get security right. You know you have to connect with your customers. You know you have to have easy technologies and tools for your employees to be productive, but it’s not always clear how identity fits into that.”

That’s where Okta’s plans for a physical location comes into play. The San Francisco-based firm announced late last month it had inked a lease for retail space in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. In a press release, Okta said the location, which it’s calling the Experience Center, will be more than 6,500 square feet.

In practice, Okta allows employees at other companies to easily and securely log into various software service platforms without needing to individually sign in. Okta is currently integrated into more than 7,000 applications and infrastructure providers.

“We want to build out a space in the Flatiron District of New York that helps executives see that,” said McKinnon, a former Salesforce executive who co-founded what became Okta more than a decade ago.

Okta expects its Experience Center to open in November 2022.

“They can look at the product and we can explain to them from an end-user perspective, from an IT administrator, from a chief security officer and from a board member or executive,” McKinnon told Cramer. “You can see, touch and feel how identity fits into your environment and how it can solve these challenges for you — how it can make you workforce more productive, how it can make a better customer experience and how it can, most importantly, make you more secure.”



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